Winter Sleigh Ride

New Year’s Resolutions – Farm Style

It’s time to look ahead. As you stand knee-deep in snow, shivering during one of Canada’s deepest, coldest winters, the horizon that lies ahead at the end of the coming year seems far, far away. Those miles are filled with opportunities to do more, or do better than the years that lie in the rear view mirror. Oh, what possibilities! … [Read more...]

Make Your Fleece Fly!

After 4 years we might just have this figured out. We have been raising alpacas for just over 4 years. And in those first few years we fell victim to the same dilemma that I am sure many of you do. What do I do with all this fleece? Where do I begin? And where do I find the time? We are in the business of raising livestock with an elegant end product that deserves much better than to languish in a barn, garage or basement. Though it may be hidden away in clear plastic bags, it peers out at us year round, summoning our guilt to the fore and challenging us to get at it and make it disappear. … [Read more...]

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

“How do you do it?” Oak Hills Alpacas is only 4 years old and we get asked this question all the time. There is really only one answer. We’ve had a lot of help. Newcomers or tire kickers arrive at our farm gate all the time wondering how to get from where they are now (ground zero) to where we are just this short time later, with a small herd and an established farm. I have found myself time and again telling the story of the support and friendship that surrounds you in alpaca farming. … [Read more...]

A Royal Alpaca Experience

We established our alpaca farm, Oak Hills Alpacas, in 2009 and since that time it has been a pleasure to see how alpacas and the farm lifestyle weave themselves into some of our family’s greatest and most memorable experiences.  A weekend at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario was yet another alpaca adventure for us all.  From the Royal York to the Rodeo, our family took our alpaca adventure to the city in style.  More than an adventure though, the “Royal” demonstrated that there is alpaca interest, and an alpaca customer base, in even the most urban settings.  … [Read more...]

Being Part of the Equation

Hi, I am Ruby and I am 12.  Our family owns a farm, an alpaca farm. See I don’t just live on a farm I am a part of it, a BIG part of it. My mom grew up being a part of her family’s business:  selling trailers.  She helped at trailer shows and even helped selling one. She was a big part of their business, and that’s what my mom wants it to be like for me and my sister. … [Read more...]

Lessons From Rehab

“But I hate bats!  I just can’t do it,” I exclaimed. At that point in my job interview, I was sure the job was not for me and that the woman conducting the interview would never hire me as a wildlife intern.  I was wrong.  She did.  And it turns out I was wrong about bats too.  That remarkable woman’s decision to hire me over 20 years ago was my good fortune and provided lessons that would last a lifetime.  … [Read more...]

What It All Means to Kids

Alpacas mean different things to different people.  To kids … alpacas mean a lifetime of learning, adventure, and development opportunities. Opportunities for kids unfold everyday at the barn, in the show ring and throughout their community.  Seize each opportunity and watch your kids grow.  The barn is a playground, class room, science lab, workshop and career centre. … [Read more...]

What’s the Draw?

I had always imagined farming to be a very solitary, quiet pursuit.  I envisioned the cliché of “a farmer, out-standing in his field.”  The solitude.  The tranquility.  A bit isolating actually. But there is just something about alpacas that draws people near, draws them to the end of your driveway, to your website.  It draws them to try alpaca farming themselves.  So what’s the draw?  And who do they draw in?  Let me tell you what we’ve experienced. … [Read more...]

Achieving Balance by Completely Tipping the Scales

Life’s mad dash had gripped our home.  We were another of those busy families.  Children, husband and wife both working.  Life was busy.  We had just built a home in the country with the intention to “settle down” but we never took time to enjoy it. What was the answer?  Time management techniques?  Technology solutions?  We needed to find that elusive balance that all busy families are looking for.  Our family found balance by completely tipping the scales and becoming farmers.  Alpaca farmers.  A busy family just got busier ... and dirtier ... and happier.  Imagine that! … [Read more...]

Waste Not, Want Not

Where do you get your inspiration from? I’m inspired by many things.  Most folks who spend as much time in nature as alpaca farmers do find their inspiration there.  Profit is a strong inspiration for me every day on the farm.  I am always looking for ways our alpacas can support themselves and make us money. … [Read more...]